Description of Historic Place
This stone house, constructed in 1825 by its owner John Thomson Jr., is a striking example of Loyalist architecture with a gable roof and symmetrical front façade. Located in the former Stamford Township (now Niagara Falls), the house exhibits beautiful ornamental details in the dormers and features a front portico beneath a central gable. Now surrounded by modern homes in a residential subdivision on Portage Road, it is a reminder of the farm to which it originally belonged to.
It is designated under the City of Niagara Falls By-law 78-69.
The house's location on Portage Road links it to one of Stamford Township's earliest and most important transportation routes that was essential to the area's development. This location also makes it part of a collection of heritage properties situated along Portage Road.
Valued for its age (built 1825) in being an early home within Stamford Township, the house is also associated with its owner and builder John Thomson Jr. who was a prominent citizen of Stamford Township. His father, John Thomson, was one of the earliest settlers in the area in 1785, settling at Whirlpool Farm. Once part of a large farm, the house has a small section in the rear dating to around 1800, which is believed to be the site of the first meeting of Masons in the Stamford area.
The John Thompson Jr. house is impressive in its solid construction of stone with walls three feet thick. The original styling would have been a one-and-a-half storey Loyalist structure with a low pitched gable roof and no dormers. Early changes include its present roof, with ornamental wood detailing on the gable ends and shed dormers. The front portico, likely added in the 1890s, enhances the building's charm. A kitchen built in wood, with a beautifully designed pump and well, was originally situated behind the large stone kitchen. Many original interior features have been retained, including the basement's hand-cut beams, some measuring 28 feet in length, window seats, walnut stair railings and bubbled hand-rolled glass in some of the windows.
Sources: By-law 78-69, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls, 1978; John Thomson Jr. House Designation Report, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls, 1978.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of John Thomson Jr. House include its:
- location on Portage Road, one of Stamford Township's most vital transportation routes that was key to its early development
- proximity to other designated heritage sites in the surrounding area
- rear portion of the house: presumed site of the first Masons meeting in the Stamford
- solid stone construction of three foot thick walls
- gable roof featuring ornamental wood detailing on gable ends and shed dormers
- front portico, an addition dating around the 1890's
- original window seats
- bubbled hand-rolled glass still evident in some of the windows